(File pix) Mokhtar Dahari Academy. NSTP/ Muhd Asyraf Sawal

KUALA LUMPUR: An independent special committee needs to be formed immediately by the Sports Ministry to investigate what has happened to the allocation of funds for food at the Mokhtar Dahari Academy (MDA) which is usually prepared for a whole year in advance.

Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) Sports Science and Recreation senior lecturer Mohd Sadek Mustaffa said that the food rationing of only twice a day at MDA from morning till night is something that cannot be forgiven, what more when it has to do with physical development aspects which is very important at grassroots level.

"The issues that have cropped up at MDA are shocking to say the least, even I myself could not believe that the trainees had to go hungry because of a lack of food there. It is baffling as to how the allocation for food which supposedly has been set aside from earlier on did not reach the Academy, so much so the trainees only eat just twice a day.

"Perhaps there’s something amiss because the allocation for food just isn’t there. So I am of the opinion that Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman needs to act fast by setting up an independent committee to investigate and find out what is really going on over there,” he said when contacted here earlier today (Tuesday).

According to a prior NSTP Sport report, MDA trainees involving those from form four and form three were only fed twice a day, once in the morning and once at night, and where lunch was concerned they had to get it by going over to the Pahang Malaysia Sports School.

Such a situation has caused concern and worry among the trainees families who are hoping that the issue can be addressed immediately to ensure that the trainees welfare are well taken cared of and MDA’s objectives and mission are realised, which is to develop world-class football players.

"Another thing that caught my attention is why was the Sports Minister was somewhat late in taking action and making decisions. Perhaps it is because he is surrounded by individuals who are ‘wolves in sheeps clothing’.

"How is the problem going to be resolved if the Sports Minister is surrounded by individuals who helped with decision making from the time of his predecessor, the previous Sports Minister. This is why he has to act immediately by forming an independent committee without wasting any more time,” stressed Sadek.

Apart from the problem of food rationing, Syed Saddiq’s surprise visit to Gambang also revealed other issues such as damaged fields, a severe lack of equipment and much more.

In fact, he also stressed that he will be keeping a close eye on things and promised to carry out a detailed and thorough investigation with regards to the RM85 million in funds for the development of the Academy.